Super Bowl Ads

Fourteen years ago, Apple with the help of director Ridley Scott reinvented television advertising. The famous “1984” ad changed the way advertisers viewed commercials. They began to see commercials as an abstract art form.

The product did not need to be the message, but instead, a sidebar to the
message. Since then, the Super Bowl has become synonymous with the best that advertising has to offer. Unfortunately, Apple has never been able to reach that level of impact since then. Many believe no one ever will, the timing was too perfect. It was the dawn of a product useful to the masses, comparable to television and the automobile. So, in judging Apple’s Super Bowl ad (they better have one) for 1998, all of us must keep in perspective that Apple will not be introducing a new era of technology, but just their newest version of it.

Fox has announced that a 30-second spot will run 1.3 million dollars. The price seems incredibly high until one realizes that up to 75% of all the televisions on at that time are tuned into the game. The advertising impact is enormous. Apple cannot afford not to run at least two 30-second spots. In addition, they may want to consider airing two 15-second spots. Total cost, 3.9 million dollars to be seen by 100+ million viewers. That’s only 4 cents per person. Pretty cheap considering the potential sales impact.
This month, in addition to my own commercial, I asked my seventh graders to come up with their own ideas. The best five out of sixty-one are below. After all, isn’t the Mac the family/education computer?
* Note: I did make a few minor changes to a couple of these entries to fit
the “Think Different” campaign.

Jungle Smarts
by Dion L.

There are two chimpanzees in a science lab. Each is in front of a computer.The one chimp on the right is working on a new Power Mac G3. The Windows chimp is agitated, jumping up and down and screaming. The Mac chimp is calmly looking at the screen. Two scientists walk in and begin taking notes regarding the agitated chimp, while the Mac chimp continues quietly on his machine.

The Windows chimp’s frustration increases to where it starts pounding the keys so hard parts fly up from everywhere. The Mac chimp looks over at his rival at starts laughing. The screen goes black and the apple logo appears along with the words “Think Different.”

Puppy Brain Food
By Jessica G.

The camera is in plain focus. On the screen you see two open laptop
computers. A two month old Golden Labrador puppy walks up to the two computers. Each machine has a picture of a can of dog food. The puppy sits between the two machines looking confused. It sticks its nose up to each screen and sniffs. Then it goes back and sits down, tilts its head sideways and gives out a short, confused whimper. The puppy carefully sticks out its paw and touches the PowerBook G3. The screen changes to show the puppy food is now in a bowl, ready to eat. The puppy’s tail wiggles wildly. It moves its hind quarters sideways and proceeds to lift its leg on the Windows machine.

The screen goes black and the Apple logo and the words “Think Different” appear.

Football Dreams
By Colin C.

With only a few seconds left to play in Super Bowl XXXII, the Broncos trail the Packers by five points. Elway is on the sideline talking to head coach Mike Shanahan who is using a PowerBook G3. Elway looks at the screen and says, “Alright.”

Reggie White is on the Packers sideline looking at the defensive
coordinator’s Wintel laptop, he nods in approval of the defensive call. The teams huddle, then come to the line of scrimmage. Elways calls out the signals, then fades back. He throws a crossing pattern to Rod Smith, who streaks into the end zone. The Broncos finally win a Super Bowl.

The screen goes black and the phrase appears, “Think Different.”

Even a Baby
by Jonathan P.

A young father is hooking his new computer up. Plugging in the keyboard, mouse, printer, and finally the power cord. He flips the switch in back and presses the restart key. The guitar strum sound greets him and he smiles.

The camera backs away to show the dad enjoying the startup, just then the
family dog comes running by catching the power cord and drags the computer from the desk. The dad reaches out and catches the computer just as its about to fall off the desk. The dog sees the manual and licks its chops. Trots over and grabs it off the floor and runs out the dog door. The dad carefully places the Mac back on the desk and tries to restart it but it doesn’t go on. Frantically he looks for the manual, finally he sees the dog outside. Furiously, he charges out the door.

Meanwhile, the family three-year-old has been watching dad. She climbs off the couch, walks over to the computer, pushes in the power plug, and sits down in front of the Macintosh. She puts a finger in her mouth, then pushes the startup key. The guitar strum is heard again and the girl smiles widely. The camera backs away, showing the dad outside the window trying to pull the manual out of the dog’s mouth.

The screen blackens and the Apple logo appears along with the words “Think Different.”

I should let you know that my students had only one evening to come up with these ideas, and not one of them was too excited to do an Apple commercial.

Here’s my idea for the Super Bowl which takes aim squarely at Intel.

Cooler, Faster, Smaller
The Intel “spacemobile” appears in Times Square and parks. Smoke starts to pour out from the Pentium II display on the side of the vehicle. Suddenly, the Intel multi-hued clean-suit crew comes jumping out the door, coughing and choking. One clean-suited member even goes so far as to kick the vehicle as another sprays a fire extinguisher in the display and then under the hood.

Chevy Chase appears from the crowd in a mechanic’s outfit holding a bag of chips. He looks under the display cover and pulls something out, juggling it from hand to hand due to its heat.

With the “clean-suits” gathered around, Chevy explains the problem. “Boys, there ain’t any way that you can get to where you want to go today! This chip’s too big and puts out too much heat! The future is cooler, faster, smaller, and less energy, like THIS… Chevy pulls out a G3 Power PC chip. The camera shows a close up demonstrating the size difference between the two chips. “Here boys, give it to your leader as a souvenir.”

The screen darkens, and the “Think Different” phrase appears along with the Apple logo.

Enjoy the Game, and hopefully, the commercial!

Mark Marcantonio (

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